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Entries in Montana weather (79)


Kalispell sets new record for all-time wettest October

Cloudy skies and rain have been the normal in NW Montana this year- GNP webcam photo (KALISPELL)- The last time it was this wet, you'd have to put the top up on your Model T. 

As of 6 a.m. this morning, Kalispell broke the record that's stood for more than a century, topping 3.41" of rain for the month of October. The old mark of 3.40" was set back in October of 2014. 

A very wet weather pattern which settled over the Northwest at the start of the month has continued to impact all of Western Montana's weather, but Northwest Montana has been getting the brunt of the storms. 

And with a few days left in the month, and more precipitation in the forecast, that record will just continue to add to the total. 

By comparison, Missoula has had just under 2" of rain so far this month. 


Colder weather brings snow to MT high country 

Lost Trail Pass Wednesday morning- IDT photo(MISSOULA)- After several days of "early summer" weather, Montanans are being reminded spring can deliver just about any kind of conditions to the Treasure State. 

Temperatures had climbed to the high 70s, and even topping 80 this past weekend, which is 20-to-30 degrees above normal for this time of the year. 

But a pair of colder systems is changing that outlook for the remainder of the week. Snow levels in the Bitterroot Range had dropped to as low as 4,000 feet Wednesday morning, with snow showers even leaving a fresh coating of white on Lost Trail Pass. 

Rain and gusty winds will be the primary feature in the valleys, with highs falling back into the 40s until another warmup the second half of the weekend. 


Thick fog blanketing parts of Western MT

(MISSOULA)- Thick fog is blanketing portions of Western Montana this morning in advance of an incoming system that will clear the air, but bring mountain snow and rain showers. 

The foggy conditions began this morning with freezing fog in some of the higher elevations around Missoula and the Northern Bitterroot Valley. Even by mid-morning the fog remained thick with visibilities of less than 100-yards. While skies in the Southern Bitterroot were clear, the north end of the valley, through Missoula and much of the Lower and Upper Clark Fork valleys were completely socked in. 

While some drivers were cautious enough to use their headlights, others were running the risk of accidents by not running any lights at all. 

Forecasters say an incoming storm system should help clear things out as the day wears on, although the fog will be replaced by mountain snow, with rain in the valleys. Some areas like Lookout Pass were already receiving fresh snow by mid-morning.

A stronger, colder system could bring snow to the valley floors Friday evening into Saturday morning. 


Frost, then more smoke for the valleys of Western MT

NWS graphic(MISSOULA)- If you've been thinking "it feels like September", Sunday's weather should convince you the seasons are about to change in Western MT, with frost advisory up for some of the lower elevation valleys.

The National Weather Service had issued a frost advisory for most of Northwest Montana, including the Kootenai-Cabinet region, and the Flathead and Mission Valleys for Sunday morning. The warnings also extend into the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys. 

Forecasters say many locations could drop well into the 30s by Sunday morning, especially in traditionally colder areas, such as Polebridge and the North Fork, Olney and Seeley Lake.  NWS was advising people to take precautions to protect sensitive plants close to the ground. 

After the cold snap, temperatures are expected to rebound Sunday, with most locations reaching into the 80s. 

The forecast is also for a return to more smokey weather, as fire smoke pushes back into Western Montana from the fires burning in Idaho and Washington. 


Fire weather rakes across Western Montana

(MISSOULA)- It's the kind of weather which brings fear to the heart of long-time Montanans; the arrival of a strong August cold front during one of the worst fire seasons in years. 

The cold front pushed across the western half of the state Friday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue Red Flag Warnings from Libby to Dillon and east to the HiLine. Winds gusting between 20 and 40 miles per hour, combined with low humidities and the extreme drought conditions raised fears of new fire starts.

The one thing that was playing into our favor was that temperatures stayed relatively low, only reaching into the mid and upper 70s in a few locations. 

And once the cold front passed, temperatures started to plunge. NWS reports temperatures dropping by as much as 20-degrees across Northwest Montana during the late afternoon and early evening. A few thunderstorms were being generated, but without the intensity of a similar cold front last Friday, when dozens of lightning strikes started storms across the region. 

In the high country of Glacier National Park, temperatures had fallen into the low 30s, with periods of snow showers reported for a time Friday evening. 

Red Flag Warnings were set to expire Friday night. However the cold weather may still have an impact this weekend. NWS had issued a Frost Advisory with forecast temperatures expected to drop into the low 30s, even in some of the lower valleys Sunday morning.